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Land Prices Surging Up Steadily

Shortages in land supply will continue this year, and are expected to bring up land prices steadily, officials with the Ministry of Land and Resources said.

With steady economic growth and strong demand in the property market, the land shortage is ongoing, officials said.

Overall land prices in China grew 6.08 percent in 2004 from the previous year to 1,198 yuan (US$145) per square meter, according to a report released by the ministry on Saturday.

The report on price changes in 51 medium-sized and large Chinese cities said that the overall land prices in southeastern China were the highest at 1,621 yuan (US$196) per square metre while the prices in Northwest China were the lowest at 777 yuan (US$94) per square metre.

However, land prices in central, southwestern and northeastern regions registered higher growth than the nation's average, standing at 9.24 percent, 10.56 percent and 7.25 percent, respectively.

In Beijing and the nearby northern port city of Tianjin, overall land prices grew 5.76 percent to 2,009 yuan (US$243) per square metre, of which, the prices of land for commercial, housing and industrial development were 3,875 yuan (US$469), 1,746 yuan (US$211) and 520 yuan (US$63), per square metre, respectively.

Overall land prices in the Yangtze River Delta region rose 6.9 percent, with land prices for housing jumping 12.16 percent to 1,540 yuan (US$186) per square metre.

To improve land use efficiency and guarantee healthy economic development, the Beijing municipal government has pledged to restrain the structure and scale of real estate development this year.

It is necessary to restrict those areas where there is blind and excessive construction, said Ding Xiangyang, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.

The municipal government will impose strict limitations on the construction of office buildings, apartments, hotels and big shopping malls inside the Third Ring Road, Ding said.

The government has also promised to control land supply and increase commercial housing of middling quality to maintain a steady real estate market.

Property prices have tripled in major Chinese cities in the last five years, prompting a series of government measures to cool down the overheated housing market last year.

The Ministry of Land and Resources and other government departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Construction, concluded an unprecedented nationwide probe into rampant land abuses in development zones late last year.

The investigation has resulted in the shutting-down of 4,813 development zones, about 70.1 percent of the nation's total.

Now, the nation has 2,053 development zones, covering 13,700 square kilometers of land, latest statistics show.

The Ministry of Land and Resources has examined development zones approved by local governments. Land will not be available until they pass the examination.

(China Daily February 7, 2005)

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